Religion Isn’t the Problem, It’s the People

This blog was inspired by a fellow blogger. More specifically, some of the comments on her blog.

In her blog, she talks about how Christians seem to get all up in arms about certain topics (gay marriage, abortion, etc). and forget that their purpose is to enlighten, not frighten.

I totally agreed with her blog. Too many bad things seem to crop up involving Christians, while good Christians remain silent. But one of the comments on her blog flipped a switch in my head, thus inspiring yet another religious blog (my apologies, again).

Although I may focus on Christians, I have no doubt there are other religions that have similar issues, with similar bloggers voicing their thoughts. But, since Christianity is the popular choice around my parts, sadly, I’ll have to focus on it.

The best Christian I have ever known is my mother.

She may not go to church, but she has a great deal of faith. She reads passages from the bible every day. She says her prayers, and will be the first to voice an opinion about her faith. Believe me, I test her, either by accident or on purpose.

I also respect her faith and her Christian beliefs. The main reason is that she sees beyond her faith. One saying that she often mentions is about a passage from the bible. Whether it is accurate word for word, I’m not sure, but this is what she says…

“God says that within my house are many doors. To me, that means there are different ways of reaching God.”

I always take it as many different religions believing in the same God, but doing it different ways.

Feel free to be horrified or roll your eyes, but in my humble opinion, that may be the best interpretation of religion anyone has ever said.

To me, it also means that not one religion is “right”. Which brings me to a line in the comment of my fellow blogger’s blog…

“I think we need to be ready, at every opportunity to lovingly share our view, and to unashamedly point people in the right direction.”

The “right direction”.

Which way is the right direction? To Jesus? What if Buddha is the right direction for someone? Or Mohammad? Heck, they may just need spiritual enlightenment without any religious affiliations. Who is to say which way is right? Like I said earlier, I’m sure all religions have people like this, who believe their way is “right”, which to them is a synonym for “the ONLY way”. But, sadly, Christians are wearing the target.

Even these “good Christian” people think guys like Phil Robertson (of Duck Dynasty, Homosexuality = bestiality fame) are back-wood yokels, and know nothing, they believe the same thing. Homosexuality is a sin. Abortion is a sin. Anything that the Bible doesn’t agree with isn’t good and those that do like it must be saved and brought into the “right”. Sure, the ‘good Christians won’t say anything negative about gay marriage, abortion, etc. like that back-woods yokel, but, for some reason, it feels dishonest, like they are hiding. As stupid as that yokel sounds, many of those “good Christians” are thinking the same thing.

That’s where the saving comes in. Sure they’ll keep quiet about their beliefs, but if any of those people need help, enlightenment, good Christians will be there to “save” them. When I say “save”, it sometimes means converting. Bringing them into the fold. Some even go so far as reprogramming, because ya know, homosexuality is wrong. It’s a sin! A sin that was around before Christianity.

What if people need help, but don’t want to be “saved”? What if those people who need saving are on the Christian naughty list?

This brings me to an issue that has bugged me for a while. The Salvation Army, always known as a beacon of hope and light for so many in need. I always donated to them when their kettles came out around Christmas. But then I heard about their policy towards homosexuals, lesbians, bisexual, or transgendered. Being a Christian organization, they considered LBGT “sexually impure”, thus not worthy of help, even if they are homeless, or in need.

But, the Salvation Army recently released a statement, indicating new anti-discrimination policies that “prohibits the denial of services or employment based on race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, or sexual orientation.”

See, to me, that is what being a “good Christian” is about. The same goes for anyone of any religion. Even if they believe something, doesn’t mean they have to punish others for different beliefs, or make them suffer because they believe something else.

Everyone has a right to believe what they choose, the right to speak their mind, and voice their opinion, so long as it doesn’t hurt others. But no matter how “loving” their beliefs or opinion might sound, if it judges others, then you have to question the source, and whether they are trying to be helpful, or help themselves.

Maybe, someday, in the far distant future, all religions will stop judging others because of their religious beliefs, life style choice, race, sexual orientation, or gender, and begin accepting others openly, without prejudice. In this magical future time, people will be allowed to believe whatever they want, and be secure enough in their beliefs to allow others to believe something else. The only thing that will be the standard of judging others will be how they treat others, and the world around them. And no one, NO ONE will force others to do anything, or believe anything, they don’t want to.

Then, maybe then, we’ll see the true glory of God.


2 thoughts on “Religion Isn’t the Problem, It’s the People”

  1. I’m glad our comment-discussion got you thinking; it got me thinking too! In fact, that night I stayed up waaaay past my bedtime, because the points you made zeroed in on some very great, and very important, questions I have yet to find an answer to.

    Do all religions (or lack thereof) lead to the same end?

    If so, why don’t any of them say so?

    Am I going to be so brash as to claim that by pure luck (as my parents were Christians) I stumbled upon the one way to true and eternal happiness?

    Can I claim to follow a religion of love, if that same religion preaches utter despair to those who die outside of it?

    I’m not going to say I had some kind of epiphany that brought me answers to all of my questions, but I wanted to illustrate that the same things that you’ve just said in this post bother you, bother me as well. I’m not one to believe or unbelieve things just based on the warm-fuzzies they give me, but I’d be a fool if I claimed that the “my way or the highway” philosophy isn’t full of some major plot holes.

    On the other hand, as it’s the only journey I really have any experience of, it’s really the only journey for which I can be a help to others. If they choose to take their own paths, I can wish them well, but I can not share with them the kind of wisdom only learned through many years of experience.

    Your mother sounds like a really lovely (and loving) woman. Her attitude can be an inspiration to us all. I hope for all of our sakes that we continue to find such inspiration in this new year.

    1. Ah, if only more people of faith could be as open-minded as we seem to be, lol.

      Honestly, I’m not a fan of discussing religion and a person’s beliefs, because everyone will have different beliefs, even if they follow the same religion. It just frustrates and saddens me when they take something meant to be good and turn, for their own purposes, into something petty and cruel. But as my Mom pointed out, people have been doing that since there has been religion.

      Regardless of what anyone believes, it should come down to these simple tenets:
      Finding happiness.
      Being good to others, regardless of what they believe.
      Leaving the world better than when we found it.

      Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comments and discussion.

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